Air New Zealand contract airline Air National has been banned from flying by the CAA over concerns about allegedly false training records, leaving NZ's national airline shuffling aircraft around to replace contracted flights.
Business travellers to West Coast mining destination Hokitika shouldn't be inconvenienced, since Air New Zealand has stepped up and will use its own turboprop planes on the grounded flights.
An Air New Zealand spokesperson told us, "Air New Zealand is utilising our own regional fleets of Beech 1900 and Bombardier Q300 aircraft to operate the flights on the Christchurch-Hokitika route."
Air National was due to fly small Jetstream J32 aircraft on the route from the South Island's main international airport in Christchurch to West Coast airport Hokitika, which is the closest airport with scheduled flights to the lucrative mining areas stretching up the west side of the Southern Alps.
The New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority applied for the suspension over concerns about falsified training documentation, according to Wellington newspaper The Dominion Post.
Kim Murray, the CAA's lawyer, was reported as saying, "The applicant [Air National] has an appalling history of non-compliance with minimum safety standards and suspension was inevitable when falsified training records were discovered."
Principally a charter airline, Air National is not itself part of the Air New Zealand family, although it has provided aircraft and crew for one of Air New Zealand's several subsidiary regional airlines, Eagle Air.